Manuscripts of the lyrics to The Beatles hit songs “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “She Said She Said” and “In My Life”, handwritten by John Lennon, have been donated to the British Library under the new Cultural Gifts Scheme, introduced by the Government earlier this year. The scheme is administered by Arts Council England.
Hunter Davies, the acclaimed Beatles biographer and current owner of the documents, had loaned some of the items to the British Library in the past – and these, together with some previously unseen material, are to be formally handed over to the nation at an event at the British Library later today.
Speaking ahead of the event, Hunter Davies said:
“I want my Beatles collection to be kept together, in one place, and on public display, and the British Library is the perfect home for it. I have always been pleased to see them in the Treasures Gallery, next to the Magna Carta, and works by Shakespeare and Beethoven, because that’s where I honestly think they belong. Working on a new book about the Beatles lyrics made me determined that the British Library should have the world’s best public collection of Beatles manuscripts - I’m really pleased the Cultural Gifts Scheme has helped me make this a reality.”
The CGS allows individuals or companies to donate pre-eminent items to the nation during their lifetime in return for a reduction in their UK tax liability. Individuals will be able to receive a reduction in their income tax or capital gains tax liabilities of 30 per cent of the value of the object, while companies will be able to receive a reduction in their corporation tax liabilities of 20 per cent of the value of the object.
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said:
“It’s fantastic that the first treasures to be donated to the nation through the Cultural Gifts Scheme include the hand written lyrics to some of the world’s best known songs, by one of the world’s most loved artists. Incredibly generous donations like these are testament to the strong culture of philanthropy that exists in Britain today, and I look forward to seeing what other treasures may soon find a home in our national collections as a result of this scheme.”
Economic Secretary Sajid Javid said:
“I am delighted that the British Library will be receiving this high-profile donation. It’s brilliant to know that the nation will now own artefacts of such cultural significance. This is exactly why the Government created the Cultural Gifts Scheme, so that – “with a little help from our friends” - it can deliver results that benefit the whole country.”
Chief Executive of the British Library, Roly Keating said:
“We’re delighted to receive these iconic items on behalf of the nation. The case devoted to The Beatles is one of the most popular in our Treasures Gallery; visitors from all over the world are thrilled to see such legendary lyrics in their very earliest draft form. We very much welcome the Cultural Gifts Scheme and look forward to working with other potential donors to ensure that similarly notable treasures are saved for the nation.”
Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair, Arts Council England, said:
“The Cultural gifts scheme is a great way of growing our nation’s wonderful collections. These items from arguably one of the two greatest songwriters of the 20th century are an excellent start – as I’m sure Beatles and Lennon fans across the world would agree. I would urge anyone with a gift to donate to contact us about this as we want to see this scheme grow and flourish, much as Acceptance in Lieu has over the past century.”
Notes to Editors
The CGS allows individuals or companies to donate pre-eminent items to the nation during their lifetime in return for a reduction in their UK tax liability. Individuals will be able to receive a reduction in their income tax or capital gains tax liabilities of 30% of the value of the object, while companies will be able to receive a reduction in their corporation tax liabilities of 20% of the value of the object.
The acceptance of this material will generate a tax reduction of £319,500.
Further information on the Cultural Gift Scheme.
The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world’s greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library’s collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website - www.bl.uk - every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.
Images on Flickr from the formal handover on 22 May at the British Library.